When a vehicle gets written off, it’s generally assumed that it’s not worth much anymore. The cost of repairing the damage would be more than the cost of replacing the car, and not much thought is given to what happens to the damaged vehicle afterwards. It will usually be sold to a wrecker by the insurer, with the understandable aim of getting some return, however small, on the claim payout. If the car isn’t insured, the owner may try to sell it as a ‘student car’, or just leave it to fall apart at the back of the garage.
But an option most people don’t consider is donating the car to the people who really need it – our Emergency Services workers.
Every year, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services rescues hundreds of people who have become trapped in their cars after an accident. It’s a vital emergency service, and to do it properly, our firefighters need to practise – while the jaws of life are not a precision instrument, most people would rather be cut out of their car by someone with a little experience!
DFES need about 500 cars a year for training purposes. Road crash rescue simulations need to cover as many different scenarios as possible, and every scenario requires a practice vehicle for every trainee, so it’s not surprising that it’s often difficult for them to source the cars they need. This is especially true of Emergency Services workers in remote, rural and regional areas, who handle a lot of rescues but can have very limited access to resources.
There are a few key requirements for a donated vehicle. The car must be unregistered and have:
- A steering wheel
- Door panels still attached
- Glass windows and windscreen intact
- All four wheels
- Proof of ownership
- An engine is a bonus, but not necessary.
We wanted to post about this after we saw the recent appeals by DFES for more practice vehicles. We work with damaged vehicles all day long and we see a lot of eligible write-offs sent to the wreckers for a few hundred dollars without a second thought. If just a small percentage of the thousands of cars written off every year were donated for road crash rescue training, it would be a significant contribution towards the skills and resources of our Emergency Services workers.
So if you’re considering sending a car to the wreckers, please consider our firefighters first! If it meets the requirements, they’ll come and collect it for free and you’ll be contributing to a vital service that saves lives on our roads.